Friday 23 February 2018

Weld's Caponata can prove class act at Naas

Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

Dermot Weld can secure back-to-back renewals of this evening's highly competitive Oaks trial at Naas.

The Curragh-based maestro saddles the once-raced easy Gowran Park scorer Caponata, with serious and more established opposition coming from all sides.

Ballydoyle is three-handed, with the smart Betterbetterbetter, Soon and Demurely having filled the second, third and fifth spots respectively behind Sapphire -- Weld's 2011 winner of this -- at Cork recently.

Demurely has since shown that form in a solid light by getting off the mark at Limerick, but the Joseph O'Brien-ridden Betterbetterbetter, which finished six and a half lengths behind Was in the Epsom Oaks, is probably the pick of the Rosegreen delegation.

Jessica Harrington's Remember Alexander, Dane Street and Violet Lashes all warrant respect, while Kevin Prendergast's Aaraas is possibly the one of the 10 runners with the most eye-catching form.

Second to Kissed on her penultimate outing, the Hamden Al Maktoum-owned filly had Was back in third when filling the same position behind last week's Ribblesdale heroine Princess Highway over this course and distance in May.

While Caponata can't match that, Romantic Stroll, 10 lengths behind her in third at Gowran, has since obliged at Leopardstown.

In terms of sheer promise based on her visually impressive debut, Pat Smullen's mount has a bright future, and this €50,000 Listed event might be a step on the road to bigger things.

Prendergast's Nurpur is napped to take the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Maiden.


Strapless and Lightnin Hopkins are two others with placed form in this six-runner juvenile, but Nurpur's runner-up finish behind Harasiya is possibly the best individual piece on offer.

Well fancied that day, Chris Hayes' mount travelled like a decent sort and quickened to lead in the straight, only to be caught by the late burst of John Oxx's useful winner.

In the Xertec Handicap, Jim Bolger's Aquilonius is fancied to follow up his recent Curragh win, with Sure Reef getting the nod for Mick Halford in the last. Narrowly denied at Navan two weeks ago, the Choisir three-year-old remains unexposed.

Irish Independent

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